- Pierce Mill was built in the 1820's and operated commercially until 1897. The United States Government acquired the mill as part of Rock Creek Park in 1892. From 1904 to 1934, the structure was leased to various individuals and organizations as a teahouse. The National Park Service acquired stewardship of the site in 1933 and restored it as a working mill in 1936.
Pierce Mill became famous as the only 19th century gristmill operating full time in the National Park Service system. The site operated off and on until April 1993 when it was determined that the wooden waterwheel and attached mechanical components were too deteriorated to run safely. As a result, Pierce Mill ceased operating. In 1993, it was estimated that $250,000 would be required to rehabilitate and reconstruct the waterwheel and mechanical components necessary to operate the mill. Currently the Friends of Pierce Mill are working with NPS to raise the needed funds and supply volunteer help to preserve the mill. Until then, Pierce Mill remains open to the public as a museum and ranger contact station. Pierce Mill is on the National Register of Historic Places.